MILAN (Reuters) - Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi, out of the team and clearly out of favour since mid-February amid protracted contract-renewal talks, will return for Wednesday’s Serie A match at Genoa, coach Luciano Spalletti said Tuesday.
Inter’s leading scorer in each of the last four seasons was stripped of the captain’s armband after becoming embroiled in negotiations over a new contract. The Argentine then said he could not play because of a knee problem.
But the situation appears to have rectified itself.
“Icardi has been selected and tomorrow will be in the starting line-up,” Spalletti told a press conference. “The conditions are now right for Mauro to help the team again.
“He’s displayed the right reaction,” the coach added. “He’s trained well in the past few days... Blood, sweat and tears are needed when you play for our colours.”
Inter, chasing a top-four finish which would earn them a Champions League place next season, are third in Serie A although only eight points separate them from Torino in ninth.
Icardi returned to training last week after negotiations between his lawyer and the club, but he was left out of the team by Spalletti for Sunday’s match at home to Lazio, which Inter lost 1-0.
Spalletti’s tone on Tuesday was markedly different from after Sunday’s match when he said it had been “humiliating” for Inter to have to negotiate with a player to get him to play.
On Tuesday he said that chief executive Giuseppe Marotta had played a crucial role in patching up the situation and that there were no rifts between Icardi and the rest of the squad.
“Our squad is united as one. We’re strong,” he insisted.
Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Hugh Lawson